Sea of Okhotsk

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Image:Sea of Okhotsk map.png
Map of the Sea of Okhotsk.

The Sea of Okhotsk (Russian: Охо́тское мо́ре; English Transliteration: Okhotskoye More) (named after Okhotsk, the first Russian settlement in the Russian Far East) is a part of the western Pacific Ocean, lying between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the island of Hokkaido to the far south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast along the west and north. Russian explorers Ivan Moskvitin and Vassili Poyarkov were the first Europeans to discover the Sea of Okhotsk in the second quarter of the 17th century.

The Sea of Okhotsk is connected to the Sea of Japan on either side of Sakhalin: on the west through the Sakhalin Gulf and the Gulf of Tartary; on the south, through the La Pérouse Strait.

In winter, navigation on the Sea of Okhotsk becomes difficult, or even impossible, due to the formation of large ice floes, because the large amount of freshwater from the Amur lowers the salinity and raises the freezing point of the sea. The distribution and thickness of ice floes depends on many factors: the location, the time of year, water currents, and the sea temperatures.

With the exception of Hokkaido, one of the Japanese Home Islands, the sea is surrounded on all sides by territory administered by the Russian Federation. For this reason, it is generally considered as being under Russian sovereignty.

[edit] Cold War

During the Cold War, the Sea of Okhotsk was the scene of several successful U.S. Navy operations (including Operation Ivy Bells) to tap Soviet Navy undersea communications cables. These operations were documented in the book Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage. The sea (and surrounding area) were also the scene of the Soviet PVO Strany attack on Korean Air Flight 007 in 1983. The Soviet Pacific Fleet used the Sea as a ballistic missile submarine bastion, a strategy that Russia continues.

[edit] Japanese name

In the Japanese language, the sea was traditionally called Hokkai (北海), meaning 'north sea'. However, because this term is now used to refer to the North Sea in Europe, the name has changed to Ohōtsuku-kai (オホーツク海), a transcription of the Russian name.

[edit] Notable seaports

de:Ochotskisches Meer et:Ohhoota meri es:Mar de Ojotsk fr:Mer d'Okhotsk ko:오호츠크 해 it:Mare di Okhotsk hu:Ohotszki-tenger nl:Zee van Ochotsk ja:オホーツク海 pl:Morze Ochockie pt:Mar de Okhotsk ru:Охотское море sk:Ochotské more sr:Охотско море fi:Ohotanmeri sv:Ochotska havet tr:Okhotsk Denizi uk:Охотське море zh:鄂霍次克海

Sea of Okhotsk

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